4-page Case Study - Posted 11/10/2009
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BI solution empowers hospital staff with improved reporting
Leamington District Memorial Hospital is a community hospital dedicated to providing high quality patient care and service. As an Ontario-based hospital, the facility is required to report key performance and accountability indicators to the Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN), which has a mandate from the province for integrating and funding health care services and which oversees nearly two-thirds of the $37.9 billion health care budget in Ontario. In order to better measure its services using key performance indicators, service level volumes and annual funding, the hospital decided to implement a Microsoft business intelligence (BI) solution including SQL Server™ 2005, Office SharePoint® Server 2007 and Office PerformancePoint™ Server 2007. The hospital now benefits from better business insight, greater flexibility and better analytic capabilities.
Established in 1950, Leamington District Memorial Hospital is a community hospital dedicated to providing top quality care and service to its patients. As part of an accountability agreement with Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) - which has been given a mandate from the province of Ontario for funding, integrating and planning health care services within specific geographic regions - Leamington is required through an annual planning process to develop and report on key performance indicators (KPIs). These indicators monitor and track a wide range of data, including re-admission rates, average length of stay, percentage of full-time versus part-time nursing staff, absenteeism rates and a range of financial indicators. Leamington must also ensure that KPIs map back to its five strategic corporate goal areas: quality, people, partnership, information and finance.
Keeping consistent and accurate track of these KPIs, however, became a challenge for Leamington. The hospital relied on manual, independently run reports performed on a monthly or quarterly basis using Microsoft® Office Excel® spreadsheets. However, some indicators were tracked on multiple spreadsheets, making it nearly impossible to track data consistently from month-to-month. It also forced employees to browse through a variety of documents, making the reporting process tedious and slow.
Faced with a siloed data infrastructure, Leamington found it difficult to establish targets and monitor results. “In the age of accountability it is critical that we track key indicators accurately and consistently. We were running reports month-by-month and quarter-by-quarter with inconsistent information sources and inconsistent measurement formulas,” says Sarah Padfield, Vice President of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer, Leamington District Memorial Hospital.
To help ensure the hospital’s performance was aligned with allocated resources, Leamington needed a tool that that would help managers proactively set targets and help manage performance improvement towards those targets.
Leamington worked with Microsoft Certified Partner MediSolution to develop a new Business Intelligence (BI) platform. Together they decided on a solution that leverages SQL Server™ 2005, Office SharePoint® Server 2007 and Office PerformancePoint™ Server 2007 based on its flexibility, cost and key features including dashboard capabilities and performance management.
MediSolution worked closely with the key stakeholders to ensure compliance with pre-defined LHIN KPI standards. Once these were in place, the solution provider identified the different data sources, and how often data needed to be updated.
“We understand the unique management challenges organizations in the healthcare industry face. Understanding the domain is crucial to a successful implementation,” says Stephane Couture, Director of Marketing and Product Management, MediSolution.
The new reporting capabilities give physicians and administrative staff the ability to access an executive-level view of performance across the hospital or, if need be, dive deeper into specific KPIs or departmental performance.
As well, the new Microsoft BI solution enables employees to log in to PerformancePoint Server 2007 and pull up a single screen with all the information they need for a specific job function. By customizing the interface, management can also track KPIs specific to performance of individual departments. As well, at any given time, managers can bring up a scorecard for their department indicating performance with a simple red, green or yellow indicator.
“For the first time we now have a 360-view into a specific department or service in one screen shot,” says Padfield. “Being able to access information with the simple click of a mouse is what we needed to engage our staff and help us understand how well we are performing.”
Leamington now has a more comprehensive and flexible BI platform that allows staff to have greater visibility into planning, improvement initiatives, as well as clear and consistent performance reporting efforts for the LHIN. Staff can more easily access information and make strategic decisions with more confidence.
“The solution gives us better insight into all aspects of our operations and not only can we trust that all of our reporting is accurate, we can access key information with just a few mouse clicks.” says Padfield. “Our organization is now driven by outcomes and managing improvement.”
Enhanced business insight
The new Microsoft BI solution gives the hospital’s board, physicians and management a more complete picture of their performance and how initiatives are directly impacting that performance. The management team is also able to share information with their teams and use on-screen dashboards to walk them through problem areas.
“The BI solution has helped the organization to become more knowledge-based, which in turn helps staff to see things from a different perspective and ultimately helps them make more sound decisions,” says Padfield. “Although Leamington is a small hospital, we have maximized our resources to continue moving the organization forward.”
The technology also encourages staff to become more engaged in their day-to-day tasks, and ensure they play a more active role in the organization’s improvements.
“Given that the healthcare industry is so data reliant, when we provide staff with information it has to be accurate and easy to understand,” says Padfield. “Now when organizational changes need to be made, staff can quantify the changes and really understand the results being presented to them.”
Improved data reliability
The new BI solution also provides staff with additional information that they can track and analyze in real time. This empowers staff to pay close attention to data for better business insight, which in turn leads to better business decisions and improved service delivery.
“Monthly variance reports used to be siloed,” says Padfield. “Now our management team can accurately report and analyze various KPIs like occupancy rates, volumes, absenteeism rates and cost-per-patient activity on one screen.”
“It was essential that Leamington implemented a solution that would allow it to track and monitor their KPIs on a regular basis,” says Couture. “Not only does it lead to cost savings, the quality of its reporting capabilities increased tremendously. This allows managers to see where improvements can be made immediately, ultimately enabling them to secure more funding for important hospital improvement projects.”
Increased IT flexibility
The new BI solution is fully integrated with mission-critical databases with no need for any manual information uploads or maintenance. It is also completely web-based, allowing staff to access information from home or when working at remote locations. As Leamington expands its staff and services, key stakeholders have the confidence that its BI solution will continue to meet its needs.
“Having greater flexibility, increased accuracy and decreased workload within our reporting system has been a significant improvement for us,” says Padfield. “We have been able to streamline complex processes and completely eliminate any manual work we were previously doing.”